More than ten years have passed since the Tucson Botanical Garden held their La Fiesta de los Chiles. Jo Falls, director of education at Tohono Chul Park, was a fan of the garden fiesta, so when Tohono Chul was looking for a new fall event, she knew just want to do. On October 25 and 26, the garden event will be resurrected—but with a twist. “When most people think of the Southwest they naturally think chiles … but chocolate is also new world,” says Falls. That’s right, the sweet bliss of chocolate will partner with the fiery spice of chile for one great weekend.
The festival, called Chiles, Chocolate, and Salsa!, will kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 25. Guests will enjoy fire-roasted chiles, chocolate balsamic from Alfonso Olive Oil, and salsa from the 3 Amigos. In addition to food, participants can shop for chiltepin plants, Day of the Dead-themed dishes, and handmade moles. “We are also going to have food trucks during the days and musical entertainment like Mariachi Aztlán from Pueblo High School and the Jovert Steel Drum Band from Tucson High School,” Falls says.
Saturday evening offers another twist to the theme; Rafael Moreno and Descarga—a ten piece band playing salsa, cumbia, and merengue—will be playing at 7 p.m. “You just can’t sit still when they are playing. People are dancing in the aisles,” Falls says. Offering a special chile-inspired menu, The Bistro at the Tohono Chul Park will open at 4 p.m. for dinner. If a sit down meal isn’t your thing, there will also be a mobile bistro serving up tacos, street food, and a cash bar serving chile infused beer. The evening’s $25 ticket grants admission to the day time festivities as well.
“We are excited. Chiles, Chocolate and Salsa! is an opportunity to enjoy Tohono Chul Park in a different way,” Falls says. “Meeting over food or a beer helps people to connect and to see just how great the Tucson community is.” A community where food, music, and chile reign supreme.
Chiles, Chocolate and Salsa!
Saturday and Sunday, October 25 and 26, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. $12 General Admission
Rafael Moreno and Descarga, Saturday, October 25, 7 p.m. $25 General Admission